Rob Roy was a Scottish outlaw who became a folk hero through tales of his mid-1700s exploits. The cave is where Rob Roy hid when conducting raids or hiding from the Duke of Montrose's men.It’s not that easy to reach the entrance to the cave and there is an 8 foot drop to get in it, so if you do want a peek take care of your footing.
Rob Roy was born in 1671 and at the age of 18, along with his father, joined the Jacobite Rising of 1689. After the war Rob Roy's father was charged with treason and put behind bars. The family never really recovered.
Rob Roy became a successful cattle drover, built a healthy income and became the laird of Inversnaid. He was married with four children and built a reputation as a hard but fair man. In 1711 to help grow his business, Rob Roy borrowed £1,000 from a landowner who was based near Milngavie called the Duke of Montrose. £1,000 was a very sizeable amount of money and Rob Roy planned on purchasing cattle to sell at upcoming markets. However, Rob Roy's chief drover found the lure of the money too big and after being handed the cash to buy the cattle promptly disappeared.
He searched for the man, but Rob never found him. When he returned home, he found that the Duke of Montrose had seized his lands, evicted his family, bankrupted him and declared him an outlaw. An enraged Rob Roy began a long campaign of revenge on the Duke. Rob Roy's general banditry gained him notoriety as he often gave many of the profits from his crimes to the poor and primarily the poor who were under the control of the Duke of Montrose. Rob Roy's crimes included cattle rustling, theft of equipment, theft of money and on at least one occasion, kidnapping. Rob Roy kidnapped the factor of the Duke's estate and also robbed him of £3000 of rent money collected from the local tenants.
Rob was being protected during this time by the Duke of Montrose's enemies, primarily the Duke of Argyll, but Rob's downfall soon came during the 1715 Jacobite uprising. Rob Roy acted as a guide to the Jacobite army on their march from Perth to Stirling for the Battle of Sheriffmuir. After the battle he was charged with treason to go with the charges of banditry. The price on his head was now significant and he was on the run. Eventually he was caught and arrested in Balquhidder but the wily highlander escaped. He was arrested again after being betrayed by a friend, the Duke of Atholl, and was imprisoned in Dunkeld. Once more, he escaped after bribing the guards. He was finally caught again, and this time locked up in London's Newgate Prison where he would wait to be sent to the colonies as a slave.
Such was his reputation, this cheeky highlander living the life of a true Robin Hood, his stories and character grew. In 1726 Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, wrote of Rob Roy's legend in a romanticised version of his life, "The Highland Rogue". The book created a stir with Rob Roy quickly becoming a celebrity of his time. The popularity of the book encouraged King George I to grant Rob Roy a full pardon and released him from jail just before he was to be shipped out to the colonies.
Rob lived out his days in relative peace in Balquhidder before dying in his bed on Christmas Eve in 1734 at the old age of 63. As he slipped away a piper played to him the song "I Shall Return No More".